Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Hellbound Hot Rodsdotdot
artworkAnother assemblage from Del-Fi's vaults. Their hot rod instros were less stellar than their surf issues, and a lot of what's here is just so-so. There are some really cool tracks too, and chief among them are the two sides of the Venturas single, and one of the great pounding surf/rod vocals of all time, "Back Seat 38 Dodge" by Opus I. The Venturas were a west Texas band that included guitarist Jim Reese before he joined Bobby Fuller and the Fanatics. The Deuce Coupes were the post Avantis studio project of Pat and Lolly Vegas (Vasquez), who went on to form Redbone in the early 70's. There are also lots of studio stuff from the Darts (Glen Campbell's post-Champs line up), and Tommy Tedesco's De-Fenders. The liner notes are interesting and well written by Deke Dickerson.
Picks: Double-A Fueler, Satan's Chariot, Dawn Patrol, Nite Surfer, Smooth Stick, Tijuana Gasser, Taco Wagon, Tequila Joe, Drag Beat, Rum Runner, Road Runner, Little Deuce Coupe, Detroit Iron, Top Eliminator, Cruisin', Alky Burner, Hollywood Drag, Street Machine, Mag Rims, Candymatic, Corrido Twist, High Noon Rumble, Back Seat '38 Dodge

Track by Track Review

Double-A Fueler dot
Hot Rod (Instrumental)

Raspy straight pipes, and a cool riff. The structure is "La Bamba," the riff is the bass line from "La Bamba," and then there's the mindless jam in lieu of a melody.

Satan's Chariot dot
Hot Rod (Instrumental)

Progression based, highly repetitious, and without anything approaching variation or arranging. After a relentless romp through the same progression, it suddenly ends, leaving you wondering why they even cut the track.

Dawn Patrol dotdotdot
Hot Rod (Instrumental)

This is a solid track, quite different from the rest by this band. The melody riff is tasty, surfy, and well suited for the excellent backtrack, with its piano and traveling rhythm. It has a Richie Podolor feel to it, both in basic tone and in the writing. Cool.

Nite Surfer dotdotdot
Hot Rod (Instrumental)

This tune is like a lesser "Dawn Patrol," with a faster infectious rolling rhythm backtrack, and a slightly less warm lead. Infectious and worth a spin.

Smooth Stick dotdotdot
Hot Rod (Instrumental)

Racing engines and burnin' rubber, riff rock structures, dry guitars, and a round low-E lead. This is a decent track, but the simplicity of the riff falls below the attention span threshold despite the constant hot rod effects.

Tijuana Gasser dotdot
Hot Rod (Instrumental)

With a basic "Suzie Q" rhythm and a simple almost jam lead line, this has neither the expected feel of Tijuana rock instros of the day, or any particular Latin feel of any sort. The low-E lead parts are pretty big sounding, but since they are unchanging, they don't hold interest for long.

Taco Wagon dotdotdot
Hot Rod (Instrumental)

Shouts of "Tacos" using the melody from "Day-O" open before wandering into a "Comin' Home Baby" rip-off over a "Music To Watch Girls By" backtrack. The guitar tone is semi surf, semi rod.

Tequila Joe dotdotdot
Hot Rod (Instrumental)

Borrowing liberally from "Tequila," "Tequila Joe" is a second cousin at best. No emotion, just sterile music.

Drag Beat dotdotdot
Hot Rod (Instrumental)

Excellent drums, a basic riff. The drums breaks are the good part. The guitar work is superfluous. This probably should have been a drum solo track. It's a pick for the drums only.

Rum Runner dotdot
Hot Rod (Instrumental)

Tom toms pound, and the guitar jams... wouldn't it be nice if there was a song in here.

Road Runner dotdotdot
Hot Rod (Instrumental)

A decent riff, but in the underdeveloped studio setting, this is saved only by the slightly surf tones and glissandoes. It might be developed more into a more satisfying song, but alas, not here. Still, it does have enough coolness to make the two minutes palatable.

Little Deuce Coupe dotdot
Hot Rod (Instrumental)

More hotrod motors intro a standard rock riff boogie, bluesy and really tryin' to find a groove. It would probably work after 2 AM, but in the light of day....

Detroit Iron
Hot Rod (Instrumental)

Slowish progression, racing cars, and not a melody in sight. Another pale effort at the Pachuko Soul genre.

Top Eliminator dotdot
Hot Rod (Instrumental)

The Darts a.k.a. The Deuce Coupes or the T-Bones... The usual suspects were rounded up for a studio "band" to cash in on the ignorance of the listening public. Unremarkable.

Cruisin' dotdotdot
Hot Rod (Instrumental)

Slightly Richie Podolor influenced, and more listenable than many here. This has a melody, a bit of the old beat, and some sense of chemistry.

Alky Burner
Hot Rod (Instrumental)

More racing hot rods, another mindless progression, and back porch intellect.

Hollywood Drag
Hot Rod (Instrumental)

From this, you would conclude Hollywood is a drag. A boring progression, no melody, and hot rod engines screaming and tires peeling out. Glen Campbell plays guitar, such as it is.

Street Machine dot
Hot Rod (Instrumental)


Mag Rims dotdotdot
Hot Rod (Instrumental)

This is the same tune that Dick Dale issued. The guitar is fuzzy and the drums are great. It's fast paced and slightly monotonous.

Candymatic dotdotdot
Surf Blues (Instrumental)

Piano and guitar blues, slowly writhing with a soul groove. Interesting stinging whammy and reverbed second guitar. A real merger between surf and blues.

Corrido Twist dotdotdot
Surf Blues (Instrumental)

"Corrido Twist" is more a blues number, not unlike some Freddie King tunes. More jammin' riff than a song. Guitarist Jim Reese subsequently joined the Bobby Fuller Four. You can hear some licks that play a role in the BF4 later on.

High Noon Rumble dotdot
Studio Hot Rod (Instrumental)

The Venturas were from west Texas. "High Noon Rumble" is nearly a surf treatment of the theme from High Noon. Not particularly interesting.

Back Seat '38 Dodge dotdotdotdotdot
Hot Rod (Vocal)

OK, so it's not an instro, but it's a great surf band behind an amazing garage anthem full of power, chunk, and angst. After so many years, "Back Seat '38 Dodge" remains one of my favorite Mustang singles, even over the Bobby Fuller Four. Highly rhythmic and intense, this is a masterpiece of pop-punk-surf that demands listening. I don't know who they were, but they rocked! "What do I see in the back seat, in the back of my '38 Dodge?"